Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers 4/16/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Predictions

Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers Matchup Preview (4/16/22)

One of the premier Eastern Conference series matchups features the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers. There’s a significant amount of pressure on the Sixers to make a deep playoff push after trading away several assets to bring in All-Star James Harden to team up with Joel Embiid. Embiid is a legitimate candidate for the MVP this season, and it would be borderline tragic for the Philly fanbase to see a first-round exit with Embiid and Harden on the same roster.

The Toronto Raptors may not be the most efficient offensive team, ranking middle-of-the-road in the league in offensive efficiency, points per game, and 3P% (three-point percentage); however, the Raptors make up for their lack of offense with a stifling defense that has ranked in the top five in defensive rating for much of the season. Toronto has numerous wing defenders that can put pressure on the Sixers, but size will be an issue when defending Joel Embiid. Both of these teams play at a snail’s pace, so don’t expect many high-scoring affairs in this series. In the betting odds section below, I cover the outlook for this game and the series. Also, I discuss the point total and which direction I will be leaning toward for the majority of the games!

Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers Betting Odds

Despite Toronto being on the road, I think it could give the Sixers a run for their money. The Raptors are 8-2 in their past ten games and have proven to be a formidable opponent in a dangerously tight Eastern Conference. Philadelphia should squeak out a win at home, but I like the Raptors to cover against the spread.

Whatever the under sits at, I will take it. These teams rank in the bottom five in pace throughout this season, and I don’t see that changing in the playoffs. Expect most possessions to last late in the shot clock and a ton of misses. I will take the under for the first game and then reevaluate for the rest of the matchups.

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How To Watch

Date: 4/16/22
Time: 6:00 PM ET
Arena: Wells Fargo Center – Philadelphia, PA
Channel: ESPN

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Toronto Raptors Starting Lineup

PG: Fred VanVleet
SG: Gary Trent Jr.
SF: Scottie Barnes
PF: O.G. Anunoby
C: Pascal Siakam

Toronto Raptors Analysis

There are few teams that the top seeds in the Eastern Conference actually “want to see” this season, and Toronto is certainly not one of them. Toronto struggles at times on the offensive end, and its seasonal rankings for most key offensive statistical categories certainly reflect that fact. Luckily, Pascal Siakam has performed at a high level recently, serving as its primary scorer. In his past 13 games, Siakam has averaged nearly 27 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. An argument could be made that he has been one of the most valuable players to a team over the past month. For the Raptors to have a chance at upsetting the Sixers in the first round, Siakam will have to play just as well and perhaps, even better. Additionally, they will need Fred VanVleet back and playing basketball like the first half of the season if they want to stand a chance. He missed the final 11 games of the 2021-22 season with a knee injury. If VanVleet comes back at nearly full health, look out.

Philadelphia 76ers Starting Lineup

PG: Tyrese Maxey
SG: James Harden
SF: Matisse Thybulle
PF: Tobias Harris
C: Joel Embiid

Philadelphia 76ers Analysis

This is not an ideal matchup for the Sixers, but I suppose it is better than facing the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs. Despite having two stars on their team in Joel Embiid and James Harden, Philly still ranks virtually dead last in all rebounding categories, while Toronto is a top-five rebounding team in the league. Still, Embiid has an advantage in the paint, and he should be relied on heavily on the offensive end. It would not shock me if Embiid averaged between 35-and 40 points in this series. Philadelphia will also need a big series from James Harden, who has had a roller coaster of a season in 2022. Harden still has a lot to prove in the playoffs, and a deep run would help his cause.

Drew is a lead NBA writer at Lineups.com where he has been covering in-season basketball coverage to the NBA Draft. He is a former collegiate player who now spends time diving into NBA prospects and evaluating the analytics of the NBA.

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